The return of former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has been set. Dillashaw will meet No. 2 ranked contender Cory Sandhagen in the main event of an upcoming Fight Night card scheduled for May 8.
Brett Okamoto of ESPN first reported the news and revealed contracts have yet to be signed, but both Dillashaw and Sandhagen have verbally agreed to the fight. This news was later confirmed by several media outlets.
Dillashaw competed last at UFC Brooklyn, where he dropped down from bantamweight to flyweight for the first time to meet then-champion, Henry Cejudo, in an attempt to earn another UFC championship. Dillashaw was finished by technical knockout just 32 seconds into the first round, which saw his four-fight winning streak snapped.
Several months after the loss, it was announced by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that Dillashaw would be suspended for two years after testing positive for the banned substance known as EPO prior to the Cejudo fight. The suspension was retroactive to the date of the positive test, so Dillashaw became eligible to fight again on January 19, 2021.
Dillashaw previously stated that he wanted to return to either an immediate title shot at 135 pounds or get someone in the top five, but the UFC brass planned for a No. 1 contender fight instead and Sandhagen was tapped for it.
Sandhagen entered the UFC in 2018 and rattled off five straight wins over some notable names before meeting Aljamain Sterling at UFC 250 in a title eliminator fight. Sandhagen was submitted with a rear-naked choke in 88-seconds, which marked his first loss in the promotion.
Sandhagen rebounded with two stunning ‘Performance of the Night’ awarded knockouts that put him right back into the title mix. He met former title challenger Marlon Moraes at UFC Fight Island 5 in October and put an end to the fight with a spinning wheel kick and follow-up punches in the second round.
The May 8 Fight Night card does not currently have an official location or venue, but it is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.